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December 30, 2009 > Be Prepared

Be Prepared

Submitted By Jay Alan

California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) Acting Secretary Matthew Bettenhausen urged Californians to focus their energies on preparedness efforts at home and in their neighborhoods. "Understanding your level of risk is important, but action is required to save lives and property" said Bettenhausen. "Every Californian should be prepared to be self sufficient for at least 72 hours after a major disaster, regardless of the nature of the event.

Identify Your Risk
What are the hazards where you live or work? Find out what natural or human caused disasters pose a risk for you. Do you live near a flood plain, an earthquake fault, or in a high fire danger area? Are you prepared for an unexpected human-made disaster that can strike any time? Does your neighborhood
or community have a disaster plan.

Create a Family Disaster Plan
Your family needs a plan that tells everyone: where to meet if you have to evacuate; who you have identified as an out-of-state "family contact"; how to get emergency information in your community; and how to take care of your family pets.

Practice Your Family Emergency Plan
After you have sat down with your family and written your plan, practice it. Start by having family members meet at a designated spot outside your home, like you would after a fire or after the shaking stops. Know how to respond in the event of any disaster; whether to stay put indoors, or whether to evacuate your neighborhood by car. If your family needs to evacuate, know the proper evacuation procedures and routes as determined by your local OES office.

Build a Disaster Supply Kit For Your Home and Car
If you are stranded in your car or have to be self-sufficient at home until help arrives, you need to have a disaster kit with you.

Prepare Your Children
Talk to your kids about what the risks are and what your family will do if disaster strikes.

Don't Forget Those with Special Needs
Infants, seniors and those with special needs must not be forgotten.

Learn CPR and First Aid
Contact you local chapter of the American Red Cross today and get trained on basic first aid and CPR. Your training could save the life of a loved one or neighbor following a disaster.

Eliminate Hazards in Your Home and The Workplace
You must secure the contents of your home or office to reduce hazards, especially during shaking from an earthquake or from an explosion.

Understand Post 9/11 Risks
Disaster preparedness must now account for man-made disasters as well as natural ones. Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.

Get Involved, Volunteer, Bear Responsibility
Donate blood, join a local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), educate your neighbor, or volunteer with you local American Red Cross.

For more information on disaster preparedness, visit Cal EMA online at, and these following resources:

CalVolunteers -
Ready America -
Great California ShakeOut -
American Red Cross -
National Council on Disability --
California Foundation for Independent Living-

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